Mission Impossible at Chequers

Press quote (The Financial Times)
21 February 2018

Charles Grant, head of the Centre for European Reform, highlights this thinking in a piece for Politico. He notes that the 27 are more divided on the future relationship than they were on the first phase of the Brexit talks.He says that some governments are uncomfortable with the hard line taken by the Germans, the French and the commission and point out that the UK’s trade with the EU is eight times that of Canada’s and that Britain and the EU will want a much closer relationship in areas like security, foreign policy and research. “This camp includes Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Poland and possibly Spain.”

Even so, winning over these EU states will be far from easy and Mrs May will have to make painful concessions in the next few months if “managed divergence” is to make any headway.Mr Grant argues that Mrs May will have to swallow rigorous dispute resolution mechanisms; she will need to be flexible on her “red lines”, such as accepting ECJ authority in some areas; she will have to propose an immigration system that gives Europeans a smoother entry to the UK than non-EU nationals; and she would have to offer money for particular EU projects.